Sometimes the best presents don’t come wrapped in fancy paper or have a big red bow.
By Kim Calvert
On Christmas Eve I needed a miracle. My cat Ricky recently underwent surgery to remove malignant tumors. Earlier in the day, I once again made the arduous trip to the vet hospital to deal with an apparent infection at the incision site. Then at about 6 p.m. I noticed he was having difficulty in his litter box.
After a panicky phone consultation with the vet who’d seen him earlier, I was told that if he did have a blockage it would require emergency surgery. But after what he’s already been through, another invasive procedure and even more hospitalization would reduce his quality of life to a point I simply could not allow.
If Ricky was in trouble, I would need to find a veterinarian who could administer euthanasia at my home on Christmas Eve. I wanted it to happen in his own bed with me at this side ― not package him up in a carrier and take him to a place he’s come to associate with fear and pain.
A few days earlier, a friend had given me the phone number for Steve Weinberg, a veterinarian who does house calls. I dialed the number, hoping to hear a voice but expecting an answering machine. A woman answered! I struggled to explain, so worried about Ricky I couldn’t even remember my own phone number. She asked me if I would like to speak with the doctor. “Well, yes, can I?”
I was amazed and so very grateful that she was able to pass me through to him ― that I was able to tell him of my concern about needing to euthanize Ricky on Christmas Eve.
“If you need me, I can come. Just let me know,” Dr. Weinberg said.
“But it’s Christmas Eve!”
“No problem, I’m Jewish.”
Despite the gravity of the situation, we both had to chuckle. There was just something funny about the way he said it. And of course, just because someone is Jewish, doesn’t mean they don’t want to enjoy the holiday!
So Christmas miracle no. 1 is that I managed to get through to him, and miracle no. 2 is that the one phone number I have for a house-call vet, turns out to be a Jewish guy who is willing to come to my house on Christmas Eve.
I slept that night with the little Ricky by my side, waking up every hour or so to check his condition. He ate dinner but still no sign that his urinary tract was functioning.
Then at about 7 a.m. on Christmas morning, I received a wonderful gift! A big clump in Ricky’s cat box. As those who have cats will understand, clear evidence that despite all that is not right with Ricky, an emergency that would require euthanasia was not how I would remember Christmas 2009.
That clump of cat litter didn’t come wrapped in a fancy package, it certainly didn’t come with a big red bow – I don’t even plan to keep it. But it was, without a doubt, Christmas miracle no. 3 and the best gift of all